MARCH MADNESS EXCITEMENT BUILDING
13th March, 2017 at 21:45:05
One of the United States' biggest betting events is being used by the AGA to promote the idea of more widespread legalised sports betting.
The American Gaming Association is using the growing excitement around this years' National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament - better known perhaps as March Madness - to add momentum to its national campaign for the wider legalisation of sports betting in the USA.
The Association pointed out Monday that the NCAA brackets this week will be filled out by more Americans than voted for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in last year's presidential election.
Combining all those $10 and $20 entry fees that go along with most of the 70 million-plus office pools being filled out, American punters will put in the neighborhood of $2 billion at stake as the tournament kicks off this week.
In short, 40 million people will fill out roughly 70 million brackets, and most of that will have some monetary consideration attached.
The AGA estimates that, in total, around $10.4 billion will be wagered on the three-week hoops extravaganza that starts tomorrow (Tuesday) with opening-round games and ends April 1 and 3 at the Final Four in Phoenix.
That's $1.2 billion more than last year...and only $295 million of that will be bet legally - mainly at sports books in Nevada.
The irony is that the NCAA does not condone gambling or filling out brackets for anything more than fun...ie no money. Meanwhile billions change hands in media rights, merchandising...and illegal betting.
The NCAA also runs a 'fun' bracket contest on its own website.
AGA chief exec Geoff Freeman has again been prominent in using these big national sports events to get his legalisation point across, opining this week that the NCAA stance on sports betting is "strange" and "hypocritical" and adding for good measure: ''The other word is, it's dangerous."
He believes that the more regulatory activity on the games through gambling becoming widely legal than the present four states, the less chance there would be of point shaving and other forms of tampering, the likes of which have hit the college game in the past.
"It's time for Washington to get out of the way and enable states to reap rewards of regulated #sportsbetting marketplace," Freeman tweeted Monday.
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